Friday, 29 April 2011

Do we make our own luck?

It's an age old debate...are you lucky or not?

The other questions could be...is your glass half full or half empty.  We know the right answer to that.  My glass is generally half empty but that's only because I want it re-filling. I think the two are linked. But is it how we view our perception of luck or do we really attract bad luck?

I recently attended a couple of events.  On the table at both events were people who I view as intelligent, quick witted and interesting but who are either plagued with bad luck or blame outside influences for their lack of "je ne sais quoi."  One of the guests couldn't get a job in the industry he wanted.  I'd asked him what he'd tried and he replied "Nothing, it's not worth it...all the jobs are taken by those in the know" He'd put it down to his "bad luck" in never getting the job he wanted. He was plagued with it stating "I've never got what I wanted!" He poo pooed his degree stating that it wasn't worth the paper it was written on, but I have a sneaky  feeling he doesn't want to start at the bottom of the ladder. But he saw situation as being unlucky despite him not doing anything to rectify his situation.

Usually when "bad things" happen we put it down to bad luck.  The car breaks down, we're made redundant or someone close becomes ill. When "good things happen like a friend being able to fix your car, a job position becomes yours, or that person who is ill  gets well, we put it down to good luck.  But is it?

My parents have always believed they were lucky. Despite having lost two children, Ma often tells of her luck in keeping her remaining "chicks" close by. She thinks she's lucky to have had her "lost" children in her life. She's thinks she's lucky to have such loving children.  I put that down to good/great/amazing parenting. They put their successful business down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. It wasn't luck, it was hard work; making the right decisions at the right time; challenging themselves to create a better future and being certain of the great things during their times of sacrifice and hardship. They weren't afraid to take the plunge...they never were.  People will often say to them "Oh, you were so lucky" but they haven't seen the  blood sweat and tears that went in to creating such an empire. 

The person sitting at my table emitted pessimism and gloom. Yet, I know he could change his circumstances if he just looked at his options and made informed choices. Sometimes you have to go knocking at a lot of doors to get what you want.  Doors are opened by talking to the right people.  BB (beautiful Ben-nephew), has left Uni, and is searching for the right job.  He knows he has to take what is offered for the time being, but he understands the importance of networking and spends time talking to people.  He isn't afraid to put himself out there.  He recently tore a tendon in his knee, and although devastating for him (he is an athlete), he sees it as an opportunity to as a stepping stone to greater things.

People always tell me how lucky I am, and it's a phrase that I often spout out when something good happens.  "Of course," I say "I'm lucky that I have three beautiful children, two dogs, a home, a husband,...."
or
"It was luck pure luck that I got that for half price...I would've paid full price!" but I was in the right place at the right time and deny it's down to my own talents, but it got me thinking after speaking to the guests at the events. Some put their success down to hard work, others put it down to being in the right place at the right time. Some engineered situations, and some made choices that were right at that time. The ones that put it down to bad luck were the ones that usually saw the negativity in every situation.

On July 7th 2005, my brother was working in London. At Paddington, he decided not to catch his usual train and pop outside  for a quick cigarette. He boarded the train 5mins later...seconds after the train left the station he heard the explosion that devastated and killed many.   I'm not sure if that's luck, but we now say smoking saved his life!

2 comments:

  1. Thought-provoking. I think you make your own luck. It's too easy to blame 'bad luck' when things go wrong - rather than looking at what could have been done differently to improve the situation.

    I think there have been scientific studies into luck - might be interesting to look into it...? :)

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  2. A very good post. I think that we are all doing what we can with what we have, and it is important to have goals...That said, life never seems to happen as planned.

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